Chickpeas biryani (Chole biryani)

Sometime last week, one of my reader had put a request for chole biryani. When I saw it, I realized that I had read something similar to one of the recipe books I had. But when I checked it, it was more chole pulav than a biryani. For me, biryani has to have the layers of rice and some kind of masala layered and then cooked to perfection. So I searched in google and I didn’t find anything that would fit into my definition (it is possible that I didn’t search properly in my half sleepy mode). So I decided to take some inspiration from my other two biryani versions – Belgaum style chicken biryani and chicken biryani with ready made mix. Some more information about making biryanis here.

When I started, I was not very sure about the final outcome of this experiment. I tried to keep this as simple as possible. The most important thing needed for this to work out perfectly is “time”. Yes, it takes a long time to make perfect biryani. If you try to speed up the process, the biryani usually turns out mushy. So be careful.

This turned out to be absolutely delicious and flavorful. I served it with onion+tomato raita.

1 and 1/2 cup basmati rice
5-6 cups water
1/2 tea spn oil
1 tea spn salt

Heat water with salt and oil. When it starts boiling, add rice. When rice is 3/4th done, strain all water. Run the rice under cold water. Remove all water.

Masala powder:
4-5 cloves
2″ cinnamon
1 green cardamom
A small piece of nutmeg (just a tiny piece)
1/2 tea spn poppy seeds
1/2 tea spn coriander seeds
1/4 tea spn cumin seeds

Roast everything and grind to powder.

Chickpea(chole) gravy:
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
1 tea spn ginger paste
1/2 tea spn garlic paste
1 bay leaf
1 cup chopped tomato
1 cup chickpeas (soaked overnight and cooked in pressure cooker)
1 tea spn chili powder
6-7 strands coriander leaves
3/4 tea spn masala powder (mentioned above)

Heat oil and add bay leaf, onion, ginger, garlic. Fry till onions turn brownish. Now add tomato, salt and cook till tomatoes are cooked. Add the chickpeas, masala powder, chili powder and mix well. Cook till all water is absorbed. Take off heat and add chopped coriander leaves.

Caramelized onion:
Take half cup slitted onions.

Heat a little oil and fry till they become brownish. Take out on a paper towel.

Saffron milk:
Take about 2 tbl spns of warm milk and add 7-8 strands of saffron. Let it stand for sometime to leave color.

Putting it together:
Divide rice into 3 equal parts. Divide chickpeas gravy into 2 equal parts.
Heat about 1 tbl spn of oil in a thick bottomed pan. Pour one half of the chickpeas gravy. Spread one part of rice on it. Now spread half the caramelized onion, half of remaining masala powder, one half part of saffron milk.
On top of it, spread another layer of rice. Spread a layer of gravy. Spread remaining rice on top. Top it with remaining caramelized onion, saffron milk and masala powder. Add 1/2 cup water and 1 tea spn oil. Cover and cook on a medium flame.
After about 10mins, keep the vessel on a tava. and keep the tava on burner (this is mainly to give double thickness to the biryani and distribute heat evenly). Cook on medium flame till it is completely cooked.
Serve hot.

Serves : 4-5
Preparation time : 90mins

PS: Preferably, do not use ready made ginger garlic paste for this. Fresh one is more flavorful. It can be prepared in less than 90 mins, if you use already cooked chickpeas and little bit of planning. I prepared this from scratch and was very slow, that gave the ultimate taste too.

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